Newton, MS | Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), a national 501(c)(3) animal protection organization in partnership with BISSELL Pet Foundation (BPF), a nonprofit pet foundation, responded to an urgent call from Newton County officials for assistance with 73 dogs of various breeds found living in deplorable conditions on two properties in Newton, Miss., approximately one hour east of Jackson. Also supporting the rescue on site were Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM), Southern Pines Animal Shelter (SPAS), Rescue Riders Network, and local animal rescuers. All of the animals were seized by the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, and Natalie Fancher Patten a self-described “rescuer,” and her husband William Patten were arrested and taken into custody on charges of animal cruelty, including felony animal cruelty.
The Newton County Sheriff’s Department made this discovery while responding to a complaint that representatives from a purported animal rescue organization and 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Second Paw Dog Rescue, had not been on the property to care for the animal residents in days. The Sheriff’s Department made contact with ARC requesting urgent help upon discovering the severity of the conditions and the large number of animals. ARC quickly reached out to the other organizations to create a coalition and was on scene with the necessary equipment, supplies, transport vehicles, volunteers, and a state-licensed veterinarian soon after receiving the call.
“This is a very grim situation here. Scattered bones litter the property,” said Animal Rescue Corps’ Executive Director, Tim Woodward. “These animals have endured tremendous suffering and it ends today.”
Responders found dozens of dogs chained outdoors to trees, trapped in outdoor cages and camping tents, and several more running loose around the nine-acre, trash-strewn property. The dogs had been without access to food, clean water, or necessary veterinary care. On a separate property, over 40 dogs were found running loose and inside a trailer. Over a dozen dead and decomposing carcasses were found in cages and scattered around the 9-acre property. Two dogs had to be immediately euthanized due to untreated medical conditions that were too advanced to be treated.
Inside a trailer, among piles of garbage on urine-soaked and feces-covered floors, several dogs including litters of small puppies only a few weeks old were found suffering in unimaginable conditions. The dogs, visibly covered in ticks and fleas, emaciated, dehydrated, and exhibited various illnesses and untreated injuries. Many of the chained dogs appear to have serious dental damage, ground and missing teeth, presumably from chewing at their chains to free themselves.
Working under the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, ARC safely removed the dogs and transported them to ARC’s Rescue Center in Gallatin, Tenn., about 30 minutes outside Nashville.